Letters 10-24-2016

It’s Obama’s 1984 Several editions ago I concluded a short letter to the editor with an ominous rhetorical flourish: “Welcome to George Orwell’s 1984 and the grand opening of the Federal Department of Truth!” At the time I am sure most of the readers laughed off my comments as right-wing hyperbole. Shame on you for doubting me...

Gun Bans Don’t Work It is said that mass violence only happens in the USA. A lone gunman in a rubber boat, drifted ashore at a popular resort in Tunisia and randomly shot and killed 38 mostly British and Irish tourists. Tunisian gun laws, which are among the most restrictive in the world, didn’t stop this mass slaughter. And in January 2015, two armed men killed 11 and wounded 11 others in an attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. French gun laws didn’t stop these assassins...

Scripps’ Good Deed No good deed shall go unpunished! When Dan Scripps was the 101st District State Representative, he introduced legislation to prevent corporations from contaminating (e.g. fracking) or depleting (e.g. Nestle) Michigan’s water table for corporate profit. There are no property lines in the water table, and many of us depend on private wells for abundant, safe, clean water. In the subsequent election, Dan’s opponents ran a negative campaign almost solely on the misrepresentation that Dan’s good deed was a government takeover of your private water well...

Political Definitions As the time to vote draws near it’s a good time to check into what you stand for. According to Dictionary.com the meanings for liberal and conservative are as follows:

Liberal: Favorable to progress or reform as in political or religious affairs.

Conservative: Disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditions and limit change...

Voting Takes A Month? Hurricane Matthew hit the Florida coast Oct. 6, over three weeks before Election Day. Bob Ross (Oct. 17th issue) posits that perhaps evacuation orders from Governor Scott may have had political motivations to diminish turnout and seems to praise Hillary Clinton’s call for Gov. Scott to extend Florida’s voter registration deadline due to evacuations...

Clinton Foundation Facts Does the Clinton Foundation really spend a mere 10 percent (per Mike Pence) or 20 percent (per Reince Priebus) of its money on charity? Not true. Charity Watch gives it an A rating (the same as it gives the NRA Foundation) and says it spends 88 percent on charitable causes, and 12 percent on overhead. Here is the source of the misunderstanding: The Foundation does give only a small percentage of its money to charitable organizations, but it spends far more money directly running a number of programs...

America Needs Change Trump supports our constitution, will appoint judges that will keep our freedoms safe. He supports the partial-birth ban; Hillary voted against it. Regardless of how you feel about Trump, critical issues are at stake. Trump will increase national security, monitor refugee admissions, endorse our vital military forces while fighting ISIS. Vice-presidential candidate Mike Pence will be an intelligent asset for the country. Hillary wants open borders, increased government regulation, and more demilitarization at a time when we need strong military defenses...

My Process For No I will be voting “no” on Prop 3 because I am supportive of the process that is in place to review and approve developments. I was on the Traverse City Planning Commission in the 1990s and gained an appreciation for all of the work that goes into a review. The staff reviews the project and makes a recommendation. The developer then makes a presentation, and fellow commissioners and the public can ask questions and make comments. By the end of the process, I knew how to vote for a project, up or down. This process then repeats itself at the City Commission...

Regarding Your Postcard If you received a “Vote No” postcard from StandUp TC, don’t believe their lies. Prop 3 is not illegal. It won’t cost city taxpayers thousands of dollars in legal bills or special elections. Prop 3 is about protecting our downtown -- not Munson, NMC or the Commons -- from a future of ugly skyscrapers that will diminish the very character of our downtown...

Vote Yes It has been suggested that a recall or re-election of current city staff and Traverse City Commission would work better than Prop 3. I disagree. A recall campaign is the most divisive, costly type of election possible. Prop 3, when passed, will allow all city residents an opportunity to vote on any proposed development over 60 feet tall at no cost to the taxpayer...

Yes Vote Explained A “yes” vote on Prop 3 will give Traverse City the right to vote on developments over 60 feet high. It doesn’t require votes on every future building, as incorrectly stated by a previous letter writer. If referendums are held during general elections, taxpayers pay nothing...

Beware Trump When the country you love have have served for 33 years is threatened, you have an obligation and a duty to speak out. Now is the time for all Americans to speak out against a possible Donald Trump presidency. During the past year Trump has been exposed as a pathological liar, a demagogue and a person who is totally unfit to assume the presidency of our already great country...

Picture Worth 1,000 Words Nobody disagrees with the need for affordable housing or that a certain level of density is dollar smart for TC. The issue is the proposed solution. If you haven’t already seen the architect’s rendition for the site, please Google “Pine Street Development Traverse City”...

Living Wage, Not Tall Buildings Our community deserves better than the StandUp TC “vote no” arguments. They are not truthful. Their yard signs say: “More Housing. Less Red Tape. Vote like you want your kids to live here.” The truth: More housing, but for whom? At what price..

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Lemony Snicket: The Unauthorized Autobiography

Nancy Sundstrom - June 6th, 2002
If you are interested in stories with happy endings, you would be better off reading some other book. In this book, not only is there no happy ending, there is no happy beginning and very few happy things in the middle. --‘‘Book the First: The Bad Beginning‘‘

Move over, Harry Potter, and get ready for Lemony Snicket to kick some serious booty.
The first and most logical question is, of course, who is Lemony Snicket? Some say that he’s the alter ego of writer Daniel Handler, but he says otherwise, leading millions of readers of the best-selling “A Series of Unfortunate Events“ to become even more intrigued about the identity of its humorous, cynical, and seriously elusive author.
What’s even more compelling, if not frightening, is the notion that together, the collective “we“ make up Lemony Snicket, but who cares? Parents and kids are fighting over who will get their hands on the next installment first, and anytime that happens is cause for celebration, says I.
Actually, we do have a few key pieces of evidence on LS, as we’ll just refer to him, and most of them come from the latest in the series, “Lemony Snicket: The Unauthorized Autobiography.“ Quickly, and to give you a flavor of the quirky and slightly caustic nature of the writing, here’s an excerpt from the first chapter, entitled “Why was Mr. Snicket‘s death published in the newspaper?“


“All the News in Fits of Print“

Obituary Page

Lemony Snicket, author of A Series of Unfortunate Events, the purportedly true chronicles of the Baudelaire children, was reported dead today by anonymous and possibly unreliable sources. His age was given as “tall, with brown eyes.“ One of three children, he leaves no known survivors.
Born on a cattle farm rather than in a hospital, Snicket had a promising scholarly career in his youth, beginning with a job as a theatrical critic -- in all senses of the word -- for this very newspaper, followed by the publication of several promising anthropomorphic treatises, a word which here means “very long reports.“ This period of professional contentment -- and, allegedly, unrequited love -- ended when news of his involvement with V.F.D. and the accompanying scandal was reported in this newspaper and at least one other.
Mr. Snicket became a fugitive from justice and was rarely seen in public, and then usually from the back. Several manhunts -- and, due to a typographical error, womanhunts -- proved fruitless. At last their story, and his, appear to be over.
As no one seems to know when, where, how, and why he died, there will be no funeral services. A burial may be scheduled later this year.
Perhaps we should back up a bit. Lemony Snicket is THE heir apparent to Harry Potter in terms of being the latest hot trend in kids’ literature, but for completely different reasons and possibly for a different audience. Around since 1999 and having sold more than four million copies, LS actually seems more true to the genre of writing created by Roald Dahl and Charles Dickens, given its linguistic stylings and narrative twists that tend to favor jaw-dropping, eyebrow-raising misfortunes spread over about 200 plus pages per book.
It is its own creation, however, as unpredictable as it is original, and the following overview is designed to both get you up to speed on the antics of inventor Violet, bookworm Klaus, and their baby sibling, and entice you to dive on in.

Book 1 - The Bad Beginning
Bad goes to worse when the three Baudelaire children learn their parents have perished in a house fire.

Book 2 - The Reptile Room
Picking up where the first book left off, the three Baudelaire orphans hit the road to get away from evil Count Olaf, encountering Dr. Montgomery, their late father’s cousin’s wife.

Book 3 - The Wide Window
Things started bad for the Baudelaires’ in the first book, then got worse, so should we expect a break in the action? Yes, and no, but the excitement and adventures continue.

Book 4 - The Miserable Mill
The title speaks for itself. The story begins with this ominous passage, “The Baudelaire orphans looked out the grimy window of the train and gazed at the gloomy blackness of the Finite Forest, wondering if their lives would ever get better.“ Caveat emptor, but you still can’t help but read on.

Book 5 - The Austere Academy
The trio find themselves at a new home at Prufrock Preparatory School, whose motto is “Remember you will die.“

Book 6 - The Ersatz Elevator
Guess what? The orphans’ new home is not all it seems - which is both good and bad.

Book 7 - The Vile Village
Mr. Poe (adults and kids alike seem enchanted by the endless literary puns in LS), the bumbling legal guardian for the children, seems to be exhausting his options for finding them a home with relatives.

Book 8 - The Hostile Hospital
The run of bad luck in this book begins when a picture of the orphans is plastered on the front of The Daily Punctilio.

Lemony Snicket: The Unauthorized Autobiography
We’ll quote from the book’s description: “Finally, here is the definitive -- and only -- book for anyone interested in learning more about the alarmingly elusive author. All available documentation of Snicket‘s shocking past has been gathered, sorted, annotated, and is now available to the general public. Here is a collection of what can only be called “evidence“writings, photographs, mysterious diagrams, and even several disorienting maps, accompanied by captions, an introduction, and extensive index. Together, these pieces will shed light on a life that until now has been shrouded in darkness and will finally answer the question on everyone‘s mind: What do we really know about Lemony Snicket?“
Lemony Snicket is a romp, and it’s a great testament to the savvy of kids that they get the jokes, even when adults are left scratching their heads. If you spend any time in this weird and wonderful world, chances are excellent that you’ll be back for more, because it seems we all can’t get enough of unfortunate events.

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